Woman driver jailed for 3 years after fleeing scene of horrific collision
Woman is jailed and banned from driving for four years after seriously injuring three American students in a hit and run incident in London
Posted on 06 July 2016
A 34-year-old women who ploughed into three American students as they walked back to their student accommodation in London in the early hours on 29th August 2015 has today been sentenced to 40 months imprisonment and banned from driving for 4 years plus an extension period of 20 months. She was further sentenced to 3 months imprisonment for failing to stop and report the collision.
Ms Toma Bruziene, originally from Lithuania, and living in Leytonstone pleaded guilty of three counts of Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving, although she disputed some parts of the prosecution case.
After a Newton hearing yesterday before HHJ Blacksell QC she was sentenced today at Blackfriars Crown Court.
Ms Bruziene hit the three American women as they were walking back to their student accommodation, along the pavement on York Way, N1 near Kings Cross.
The car driven by Bruziene mounted the pavement after it appears she lost control of the vehicle, uprooting a small tree and hitting the three women with such force that they were thrown 6 metres further down the road.
Ms Bruziene failed to stop and abandoned the car in a private car park two streets away.
She was followed by a taxi driver, who had witnessed the immediate aftermath of the collision, and who then attempted to intercept her. His evidence was considered to have been of invaluable assistance to the court and he was commended for his ‘spirited and persistent action’ in ensuring that evidence was preserved. The taxi driver provided a statement to the police in which he stated that there was a strong smell of alcohol on her breath.
All three victims were students at the New York University, London Site. They all suffered serious injuries with one sustaining a serious head injury and another sustaining fractures to her neck. All three suffered numerous other fractures and lacerations.
Bruziene surrendered herself to Islington Police the following afternoon.
Detective Sergeant Chris Osborne of the Met's Serious Collision Investigation Unit said:
"This was an appalling incident for everyone concerned. It was a miracle all three girls survived, although they suffered horrendous life changing injuries. Ms Bruziene actions by drinking and driving were a direct cause of the collision, and then to make matters worse she failed to stop and tried to conceal her car. The actions of the taxi driver in following her and attempting to detain her were rightly commended by the judge. We wish all three girls well in their ongoing recovery"
Christine Tallon from the personal injury team at law firm Leigh Day, who is representing the three women, said:
“My clients are pleased that the severity of the incident has been recognised by the court and that an appropriate sentence was given which acknowledges the gravity of the collision and their injuries. The reckless behaviour of the defendant has had a devastating impact upon three young students but also upon the drivers own family. No-one involved in this tragic incident has been left unscathed.
“They have all now returned to the United States to continue their education but there is no doubt that the semester in London was a far cry from that which it had been intended to be. They were unable to enjoy the experience of living in London and all that it has to offer and instead their experience was one of in-patient hospital stays, numerous medical appointments and immobility.
“We will be continuing their claims against the driver and her insurers for their continuing symptoms and associated healthcare and other costs.”